A new initiative designed to help Wellingtonians find a love of books will see dozens of bestsellers given away for free this Valentine’s Day.
The concept launched by online retailer Bookdepository.com utilises a temporary bookshelf set up at 101 Courtenay Place from midday on February 14.
In addition to bestselling titles from international writers, a number of well-known Wellington author’s titles will be given away including Lloyd Jones and Elisabeth Knox.
Mitch Lang, spokesperson for Book Depository says while by global standards New Zealanders are avid readers and have one of the highest per-capita rates of book consumption, there are many who prefer to social media over paperbacks.
“In a digital age where content is consumed in byte size, the love of a good book has been lost to many and there is an entirely new generation of young adults who have not known a time when books were their first source of information and inspiration.
“The initiative today is about helping lapsed bibliophiles renew their relationship with reading and, also inspiring those who have never experienced the sensation of rushing home to start a new book,” he says.
Lang says in keeping with the Valentine’ Day theme, there will be romance, poetry and drama titles available however the majority of the books are from the New Zealand bestsellers list and cover a range of genres such as food & beverage, history, science, biographies, science, fiction, personal development and children’s titles.
He says the free books will only be available on Valentine’s Day, will be limited to one per person and can be selected up from the shelf with no purchase required.
“Nielsen data shows New Zealanders buy more than six million hardcopy books per year and our own figures have found Kiwis are the second-highest consumers of physical books among the countries we supply to,” says Lang.
He says demand for hard copy books through online channels remains strong in the region with around 17% of Wellington’s population considered an active subscriber and says their growth in sales in this region is driven by the offer of free delivery on 20 million titles.
 Based on Book Depository international sales data.
 Nielsen BookScan
 Book Depository market research 2019.